U-L-M (2-24) at Denver (19-8)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 18th, 6:00 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Magness Arena (7,200) -- Denver, Colorado. Television: None. Home Record: ULM 0-12, Denver 12-2. Away Record: ULM 2-12, Denver 7-6. Neutral Record: ULM 0-0, Denver 0-0. Conference Record: ULM 1-12, Denver 9-5. Series Record: Denver leads, 9-4.
GAME NOTES: The Denver Pioneers hope to hand the ULM Warhawks their 10th straight loss tonight when the two Sun Belt Conference foes square off at Magness Arena.
ULM has been one of the worst teams in the nation, winning only two of its 26 games this season, and it is in last place in the Sun Belt West Division with a 1-12 mark. The Warhawks have suffered through two nine-game losing streaks this year, with the last one culminating in an 86-51 thrashing at the hands of North Texas on Thursday.
Denver has the second-most wins overall in the Sun Belt with 19, and the team has a 9-5 record in conference play, but it is one and a half games behind West Division leaders Arkansas-Little Rock with only two games left in the regular reason. The Pioneers have won three of their last four bouts, the most recent being a 77-52 blowout over Louisiana on Thursday.
Denver leads the all-time series with ULM, 9-4, and it has won seven of the last eight meetings.
ULM owns the conference's worst scoring margin (-11.3) by more than double the next-worst team, doing so behind a bad defense (71.1 ppg) and a terrible offense (59.8 ppg). Only days after putting up a season-high 86 points against South Alabama, the Warhawks reverted to their old ways in Thursday's loss, shooting a woeful 30.2 percent from the floor and connecting on just 5-of-23 three-point tries. Fred Brown was the lone bright spot with 17 points, but he did so on just 6-of-16 shooting. Brown is the team's leading scorer on the year as well, netting 12.5 ppg, and he is first in the conference in free- throw percentage (.875). Charles Winborne adds 10.8 ppg and is a quality threat from the outside, draining 2.0 three-pointers per game at a 42.4 percent clip. Steven McClellan adds 7.9 ppg and a team-best 6.3 rpg to the mix. ULM falls in the red in both rebounding margin (-3.7) and turnover margin (-2.32).
Denver is tied for the best defense in the league, giving up just 61.1 ppg to its opponents and combined with its above-average offense (68.4 ppg), it is second to only Middle Tennessee in scoring margin (+7.3). The Pioneers are one of the nation's most prolific three-point shooting teams, having drained 221 long-range shots at a 40 percent clip. Though they slipped to 38.1 percent (8- of-21) from beyond the arc in Thursday's game, they shot 59.2 percent overall en route to the victory. Chris Udofia tallied 19 points to pace the squad and he continues his reign atop the Sun Belt scoring list by dropping in 15.1 ppg. Brian Stafford isn't far off the pace, putting up 13.9 ppg, and he is deadly from long-range, connecting on 2.3 three-pointers per game at 45.6 percent shooting. Royce O'Neale tallies 9.9 ppg and a team-high 5.4 rpg, though as a team Denver is the worst on the glass in the conference with a rebounding margin of -4.3.
After a slight hiccup a few weeks back, Denver appears to have gotten back on track, and a home date against the conference's worst team is sure to only bolster its spirits. This one could get out of hand early.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Denver 83, ULM 58
02/18 10:43:57 ET